City and Regional Planning

Master of City Planning (MCP) Requirements

The Master of City Planning degree requires completion of 18 course units, including course requirements from the core curriculum and one of six concentration areas.  Of those 18 credits, 15 credits must be from City Planning (CPLN) classes. In addition, all students must complete a non-credit planning internship between the first and second years of study.


The MCP core curriculum encompasses the basic skills and knowledge required of all planners regardless of their specialization, and is a hallmark of our cutting-edge and practical approach to educating city planners. Students who complete the core will understand the legal and historical basis of city planning; they will know how to use a wide variety of population and economic data to understand local communities; and they will understand the form and arrangement of cities and metropolitan areas around the world. Most important, they will understand which planning approaches work best in which contexts and circumstances.

The core includes two hands-on opportunities for students to engage real planning problems in real communities for real clients. The first of these, CPLN 6000 (600) Workshop (Spring), offered to first-year students and is organized around producing a community plan for a Philadelphia-area city, town, or neighborhood. CPLN 7000 (700) Planning Studio (Fall), offered to second-year students, centers on a more advanced and specific planning challenge. It gives students the opportunity to scope out a planning problem for themselves, design the appropriate planning process, and then, pursue that process to its conclusion. Studio topics vary year to year, but at least one studio usually has an international or comparative focus.

Required Core Courses

Year 1 Fall

CPLN 5000 (500) Introduction to Planning History and Theory

CPLN 5010 (501) Quantitative Planning Analysis Methods

CPLN 5030 (503) Modeling Geographic Obects

Year 1 Spring

CPLN 6000 (600) Workshop

Year 2 Fall

CPLN 7000 (700) Planning Studio

Year 2 Fall or Spring

CPLN 5020 (502) Urban and Infrastructure Finance (Spring)

CPLN 5090 (509) Law and Urban Development (Fall)



Because a planning education extends beyond the classroom, all MCP students are required to complete a planning internship, usually between their first and second years. Internships may be paid or unpaid, but they must involve full-time work. Internships can be completed at any government agency or commission, private consulting firm, or non-profit or advocacy organization involved in planning practice, policy, or research.

Students may intern at a Philadelphia-based organization, such as the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the Reinvestment Fund, or Interface Studios.

Internships outside the Philadelphia region have included Nikken Sekkei in Tokyo; the New York City Department of Planning; or the Chicago Mayor's Fellowship.


The essence of good planning is making connections. To facilitate this, the Department of City & Regional Planning offers six concentrations which integrate knowledge across related specializations: (1) Housing, Community & Economic Development (2) Land Use-Environmental Planning (3) Public Private Development (4) Smart Cities (5) Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning and (6) Urban Design. Students are free to sample different concentrations during their first year, with the goal of selecting their final concentration/specialization before the start of their third semester. Although students may petition the faculty for individual course substitutions, all MCP students must complete coursework in one of our six concentrations. Click here to learn more about each concentration.

MCP Concentrations

Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED)

The Housing, Community and Economic Development concentration focuses on how planners and policy leaders influence the social and economic factors shaping metropolitan economies and urban neighborhoods, particularly low-wealth communities and communities of color.   It prepares graduates for positions in housing, community and economic development finance, neighborhood revitalization, workforce development, center city re-development, and public sector management of urban and regional economic development. Housing, Community and Economic Development is a 4 credit concentration.

Faculty Advisors:

Francesca Ammon, Akira Drake RodriguezLance Freeman, Jamaal Green,  Vincent Reina, Lisa ServonDomenic Vitiello

Required Courses

  • CPLN 5200 (520): Introduction to Housing, Community & Economic Development (Fall, First Year)
  • CPLN 7200 (720) HCED Practicum (Spring, Second Year)

Theory/Method Courses (students are required to take at least one, if a student takes more than one, the second course will fulfill an elective requirement below)

  • Community Development focus: CPLN 6270 (627): Social Impact in Practice
  • Economic Development focus: CPLN 6200 (620): Economic Development Techniques
  • Housing focus: CPLN 5400 (540): Introduction to Property Development

 Concentration Electives (take at least one)

  • CPLN 6210 (621): Metropolitan Food Systems 
  • CPLN 6240 (624): Readings in Race, Place and Poverty
  • CPLN 6280 (628): Migration and Development
  • CPLN 6420 (642): Downtown Development
  • CPLN 6440 (644): Housing Policy
  • CPLN 6870 (687): Photography & the City
  • A related special topics courses (needs approval of advisor)

Land Use-Environmental Planning (LU-EP)

Land use and environmental planning are at the core of city planning, With the U.S. forecast to add 80+ million new residents over the next forty years (and the world forecast to add 3 billion), land use and environmental planners will have to figure out new ways to accommodate population and economic growth while strengthening existing cities and towns; preserving precious and irreplaceable farm and resource lands; promoting new urban forms such as transit-oriented and mixed-use development; taking advantage of new water, land, telecom, and transportation infrastructure systems; promoting clean air and water, and robust ecologies; and reducing the carbon footprint of cities and suburbs alike. Students who complete the Land Use and Environmental Planning concentration work for local and municipal governments, for land use and environmental planning consultants, for and regional growth management agencies, and for smart growth, land conservation, and sustainable development policy and advocacy organizations. Land Use and Environmental Planning is a 4 credit concentration.

Faculty Advisors:

Tom Daniels, Allison Lassiter

Required Courses

  • CPLN 5300 (530): Introduction to Land Use (Fall, First Year)
  • CPLN 5310 (531): Introduction to Environmental Planning (Spring, First Year)

Concentration electives (take at least two)

  • CPLN 5040 (504): Site Planning (non-urban designer version)
  • CPLN 6300 (630): Innovations in Growth Management
  • CPLN 6310 (631): Planning for Land Conservation
  • CPLN 6340 (634):  Climate Change
  • CPLN 6350 (635): Water Policy
  • CPLN 6750 (675): Land Use and Environmental Modeling
  • CPLN 7300 (730): Sustainable Cities
  • A related special topics courses (needs approval of advisor)


Public Private Development (PPD)

Students in the Public & Private Development Concentration will learn the planning, design, entrepreneurial, and financing principles of developing for-profit and community-oriented housing and commercial development projects; how to put together development proposals and plans that meet the needs of tenants, the marketplace, and the community; how to develop projects that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable; and how private developers can work in partnership with cities and towns, redevelopment agencies, non-profits, and community groups to create affordable housing and public-private development partnerships. These same skills and abilities will be widely valued outside the United States, especially in growing areas of Asia and South America. Public Private Development is a 4 credit concentration.

Faculty Advisor:

 Vincent Reina

Required Courses

  • CPLN 5400 (540): Introduction to Property Development (Fall, First Year)
  • CPLN 6410 (641): Progressive Development (Spring, First Year)
  • CPLN 6420 (642): Downtown Development (Fall, Second Year)

Concentration Electives (take at least one)

  • CPLN 5040 (504): Site Planning (non-urban designer version)*
  • CPLN 6430 (643): Design & Development
  • CPLN 6440 (644): Housing Policy 
  • CPLN 6200 (620): Techniques of Urban Economic Development
  • A related special topics courses (needs approval of advisor)


Smart Cities

Today's combination of portable-yet-powerful computing and communication devices and Internet-accessible "big data" are democratizing all manner of urban planning and decision-making.  And in the process, transforming planners from central information gatekeepers into bottom-up enablers who are helping city dwellers take better advantage of the opportunities and richness of urban life.  By giving everyday people quick access to usable information, these new technologies are connecting planners, residents, businesses, and non-profits; and making them smarter and more productive.  The purpose of this concentration is to give MCP students the skills and abilities they will need to develop this new generation of planning applications that seamlessly combine user-friendly data retrieval and modeling procedures with individual and collaborative urban planning and design tools. Smart Cities is a 4 credit concentration.

Faculty Advisors:

Allison Lassiter, Jamaal Green

Required Courses

  • CPLN 5920 (592):  Public Policy Analytics (Fall, First Year, depending on GIS experience) *
  • CPLN 5910 (591):  Introduction to Smart Cities (Fall, First Year)
  • CPLN 5050 (505):  Planning by Numbers (Spring, First Year) or CPLN 6710 (671):  Spatial Statistics & Data Analysis (Fall, Second Year)

Electives (take at least one)

  • CPLN 5710 (571): Sensing the City
  • CPLN 6910 (691): Java Programming for Planning and Urban Management
  • CPLN 6720 (672): Geospatial Data Science
  • CPLN 6750 (675):  Land Use & Environmental Modeling 
  • A related special topics courses (needs approval of advisor)

*Smart Cities students who take this course in place of CPLN 5030 (503) in the core must take an additional Smart Cities elective.


Sustainable Transportation and Infrastructure Planning (STIP)

This concentration explores the roles of transportation and other capital infrastructure systems in shaping urban and metropolitan development patterns in the U.S. and around the world. It focuses foremost on urban highway, public transit, and non-motorized transportation systems and their connections to sustainable, livable and economically-productive development forms; and secondly on water, energy, and communications infrastructure. It covers initial planning and development topics (such as right-of-way and system planning issues), linkages to urban and economic development issues (such as those surrounding high-speed rail), and ongoing finance and management topics such as pricing, equity-of-access, and value-creation. Students who complete the Sustainable Transportation & Infrastructure Planning Concentration work for local and municipal governments, for state highway departments and metropolitan transit operators, for transportation and infrastructure planning consultants, for system developers and utilities, and for policy and planning organizations advocating more sustainable transportation and development choices. Sustainable Transportation & Infrastructure Planning is a 4 credit concentration.

Faculty Advisors:

Erick GuerraMegan Ryerson

Required Courses

  • CPLN 5500 (550): Introduction to Transportation Planning (Fall, First Year)
  • CPLN 5050 (505): Planning by Numbers (Spring, First Year)
  • CPLN 6500 (605): Transportation Planning Methods (Fall, Second Year)

Concentration Electives (take at least one)

  • CPLN 6550 (655): Multi-modal Transportation
  • CPLN 6540 (654): The Practice of Transportation Planning
  • CPLN 7500 (750): Airport Systems Planning
  • A related special topics courses (needs approval of advisor)


Urban Design (UD)

Urban Design focuses on understanding the links between the physical form and structure of cities and regions and the economic, social and political forces that shape them. It provides knowledge about the alternative theories and methods for the physical improvement of urban places and includes courses in graphic communication, the history and theory of design, the context and operation of development incentives and controls. Graduates from the urban design specialization typically work in local government or for private design firms developing urban design plans, neighborhood and district plans, public space and street plans, and increasingly, plans for new communities. Urban Design is a 5 credit concentration.

Faculty Advisors: 

Zhongjie Lin, Marilyn Taylor

Required Courses

  • CPLN 6600 (660): Fundamentals of Urban Design Studio (Fall, First Year, 2cus)
  • CPLN 5040 (504): Site Planning (Spring, First Year)
  • CPLN 7600 (760): Public Realm Studio (Spring, Second Year, 2 CUs)


Dual Degrees

Within Weitzman

Master of City Planning and Master of Architecture
Master of City Planning and Master of Fine Arts
Master of City Planning and Master of Landscape Architecture
Master of City Planning and Master of Science in Historic Preservation
Master of City Planning and Master of Urban Spatial Analytics

With Other Schools at Penn

Master of City Planning/Master of Social Work
Master of City Planning/Juris Doctor
Master of City Planning/Master of Public Administration
Master of City Planning/Master of Public Health
Master of City Planning/Master of Systems Engineering
Master of City Planning/Master of Environmental Studies
Master of City Planning/Master of Business Administration

Learn more about the MCP dual degree requirements.